AKA's Response to the CDC Declaring Kratom an Emerging Public Health Threat

What are we to make of the latest CDC Mortality & Morbidity Weekly Report, which tells us that kratom -- a tree in the coffee family -- has become a major emerging health threat over the past 10 years?

What are they comparing it to and have they considered any of the benefits this plant offers to those who take it? As we will show in this analysis, there is an organizational bias in favor of the pharmaceutical industry and their drugs which kill more than one hundred thousand Americans each year. The benefits kratom present to those who use it responsibly are very real, but the CDC has made no notice of them, nor any effort to recognize kratom's contributions to the health of millions of Americans.

The American Kratom Association would like to add our voice to provide a more balanced view as to why this natural botanical is becoming so popular and the constructive functions it serves.

Who Are the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention?

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention is a federal agency dedicated to protecting our health from disease outbreaks, but at what cost? The CDC Foundation even allows corporate partners to contribute directly to CDC work they favor. Various members of the pharmaceutical industry are richly represented in this tax-free way, contributing ridiculously large amounts of money to work beneficial to their business interests, not to our health.

It’s safe to say the CDC has an organizational leaning, favoring the interests of the pharmaceutical industry. They are champions of pharmaceutical remedies for health issues, which automatically places them at odds with -- and in a position to harass -- natural products.

The recent revelations by top CDC researcher, Dr. William Thompson, of evidence destruction to maintain the illusion that vaccines are eminently safe and efficacious, should alone raise concerns about the CDC’s trustworthiness.

There is no room here to go through the CDC’s history of “partnerships” with big corporations in the food and drug industries to suppress personal health choices (like raw milk consumption), but suffice it to say the revolving door is well greased at the CDC! And it's illustrated by this report of how former CDC Director, Dr. Julie Gerberding, transitioned to take the lead of the Merck vaccine division after her success while at CDC of approving Merck’s Gardasil vaccine for HPV.

To say that the rabbit hole of drug industry/government collusion in promoting pharmaceutical products runs very deep would be an understatement, as detailed in this article.

On what information did the CDC base their conclusion?

They based their conclusion, as shown by calls and Emergency Room reports to the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ on a calculation that over the past 10 years, exposures to kratom collected from all 50 states grew 10-fold, from 26 reports in 2005 to 263 reports in 2015. That's TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY-THREE out of between 3 and 4 MILLION calls received that year, a fraction of a fraction of a percent (.00848%)! In 2013, the last year we could find an official number for, over 3.1 million total calls were received.  

Is this a cause for alarm? The CDC report seems to want us to think so.

Could there be another explanation? Yes, of course. Kratom is popular and is becoming more widely known. It serves several critical needs presently served by 1) expensive, dangerous, and inconvenient products that require costly physician visits and prescriptions, or 2) something even more inconvenient and socially stigmatized -- in-patient drug rehab facilities or out-patient “maintenance clinics” which provide addictive maintenance medications like methadone and suboxone (opiates themselves).

Many chronic pain patients unwillingly became dependent on drugs their doctors prescribed because those were the remedies du jour the pharmaceutical industry was pushing. After a few years of living in an opioid fog, many of these folks wanted off these meds, but the fearsome barrier of withdrawal, as it is conventionally handled, kept them prisoner. Until they discovered an herbal product which made withdrawal symptoms manageable at-home; a convenient, less stigmatized and highly successful D-I-Y (Do-It-Yourself) option.

Kratom is widely used as a D-I-Y method for breaking the bonds of drug addiction and dependence, but it is also taken for chronic pain, anxiety, depression, PTSD, fatigue, and other physical and mental health issues.

But all the CDC reports are the negative effects caused by a lack of accurate information and things like intentional misuse, caused, in part, by false cues given by the DEA, FDA, and mainstream media indicating that kratom might have potential as a “legal high.” As any responsible kratom consumer can tell you, if you are looking for a “high” in kratom, you will be sorely disappointed. Also, most of the negative side effects reported are likely due to other drugs consumed alongside kratom.

(“Although death has been attributed to kratom use, there is no solid evidence that kratom was the sole contributor to an individual’s death [42]. In most documented instances, mitragynine was detected in combination with other drugs.” Warner, Grundman, et al.)

To make things look worse, most of the adverse effects reported in the Poison Control Centers’ report could be explained by a lack of correct information on how to use kratom, since those who sell the herb cannot -- by law -- tell their customers how to consume kratom, how much to take, and what effects and side-effects they may expect if they abuse it.

On the Other Hand…

The number one cause of fatalities, according to the Poison Control Centers reports is acetaminophen, which killed 112 people in 2014 alone. Over a ten year period, we could expect the figure to be ten times as high, or approximately 1120 victims, compared to the one death which was attributed to kratom over ten years (where other factors were involved; see below). Nevertheless, acetaminophen is allowed to stay on the market, even though it kills thousands and is the leading cause for liver failure.

The death reported as “associated” with kratom ingestion, also involved taking paroxetine (Paxil), which is known to cause death in overdose, but the CDC didn’t provide sufficient information to tell us if this death would have been judged as an overdose of paroxetine in combination with lamictal, which was also present in the deceased in unknown quantities.

For example, on autopsy, if blood tests or nearby packages of kratom were found in the case of someone who died with large quantities of oxycodone in their system, kratom might be reported as associated with this overdose death.

Often, kratom gets blamed through association, although reasonable scientists are well aware that “Association does not prove causation”.

This CDC MMWR thus presents a very skewed, one-sided presentation of the growth in the use of kratom and treats this as a cause for alarm and possibly a cue for the DEA to further ratchet up their regulation of the herb, perhaps leading to scheduling it as a Controlled Substance.

This is unfortunate and appears politically and financially motivated.

This is to be expected when our government itself has a financial interest in the sales of pharmaceutical products and its watchdog agencies for public health are also in partnerships with companies large and small representing the makers of pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines.

Pharmaceutical drugs are reported to be the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, and yet, this loss of life is accepted by the CDC. One death associated with kratom that involved two drugs that carry severe side effect warnings, and a few mostly minor discomforts reported to the Poison Control Centers in 10 years (tachycardia, agitation or irritability, drowsiness, nausea, and hypertension ) are deemed an “emerging health threat”.

Why, then, is one death in TEN YEARS, likely improperly attributed to kratom, a sign of an emerging threat, while more than 1000 deaths over the same time period, caused by just  one pharmaceutical synthetic drug (acetaminophen, “Tylenol”) is considered an acceptable loss?

The answer to this question is found in the financial and professional conflicts of interest that are seen when agencies like the FDA and the CDC are staffed by the same people who either have been or who soon hope to be employed by the lucrative pharmaceutical industry. Sometimes these scientists, doctors, and executives merely own large holdings of stocks that benefit from continued growth of Big Pharma -- and the suppression of herbal remedies which the pharmaceutical industry views as their competition.

With so much money at stake in the hyper-competitive prescription drug business -- and so much “partnershipping” and shared staffing with the CDC -- is it any wonder that natural products like herbs and unpasteurized milk products are targeted for criticism and regulatory action, while deaths due to pharmaceuticals go unmentioned?

After considering all the evidence, it is plain to see that self-serving federal employees in tacit partnership with mega-corporations are trying to deny us our right to consume products we enjoy -- all for their financial benefit. Just look at the support for presidential candidates who have promised the voters to clean house and do things differently in the pharmaceutical industry arena when they’re elected.

That’s the people’s verdict on how this country’s being run!


Very interesting analysis of the CDC’s Medwatch program:



#iamkratom #AKA #keepkratomlegal #kratomsaveslives #kratom


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